RUMFORD – A Maine man charged with killing his mother-in-law in front of his 6-year-old daughter was sexually assaulting the victim when officers arrived at their home in Peru, according to court documents.

Paul Orchard, who was held without bail Tuesday, told his own mother during a phone call that he believed he was on a “vapor high” from fumes made by the polyurethane he was using to seal the woman’s floor, according to a state police affidavit.

Orchard, 33, appeared confused when officers arrived Saturday, telling them, “I killed my wife!” the documents said.

Police said Orchard sexually assaulted and strangled 57-year-old Paula Nuttall at their home late Saturday morning while his wife was at work. Court documents said during a 911 call for help, his daughter could be heard yelling, “Daddy, please stop it; please stop it!”

Nuttall died of cardiac arrest during strangulation and sexual assault, according to the state medical examiner’s office.

Orchard told his mother that he was refinishing his mother-in-law’s floor, but wasn’t wearing a mask to protect from the vapors, police said. He told police that he “lost it.”

Lt. Daniel Carrier of the Mexico Police Department reported that Orchard was naked and covered in polyurethane when he arrived. Orchard was taken to Rumford Hospital because police believed that he may have ingested some of the polyurethane.

A judge Tuesday ordered Orchard not to have any contact with his wife and daughter, who are considered witnesses. Orchard also was ordered held pending a hearing. A message left at his lawyer’s office wasn’t immediately returned on Wednesday.

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